Indonesia: Women reject polygamy, choosing divorce
Muslim scholar Siti Musdah Mulia said the data indicated Muslim women were becoming increasingly aware of their rights and also more economically independent. “The data shows women are now daring to fight for their rights and reject male domination. They are now saying, 'What is the point in continuing a marriage when I am miserable'", she said.
Siti, a lecturer at the State Islamic University in Jakarta, said women were becoming more independent and educated, two factors leading to a greater sense of worth and place. She said Muslim women were becoming increasingly aware of their rights and potential through the tireless efforts of NGOs and women activists who have launched campaigns against polygamy. “This is a good sign. Efforts by organizations to raise awareness surrounding women's rights has begun to pay off, even with discussions surrounding polygamy seeing a revival among Muslims with the release of the movie Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love),” said Legislator Nursyahbani Katjasungkana of the National Awakening Party (PKB).
Verses of Love, a film about the conditions experienced by women in polygamous relationships, was one of Indonesia's blockbuster films last year. Along with millions who flocked to see it, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Jusuf Kalla, also made prominent appearances at cinemas to see the flick. Many high-ranking officials praised the film while activists accused it of acting as propaganda encouraging polygamy.
Meanwhile, polygamy is on the rise across Indonesia. The Legal Aid Foundation of the Indonesian Women's Association for Justice (LBH APIK) received 87 reports of polygamy last year, up from 16 in 2007.
02 February 2009
By: Abdul Khalik
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